Colombia Oil Theft Surges As Smuggled Gasoline Dries Up, Data Show


By Oliver Griffin

BOGOTA, Nov eight (Reuters) – Theft from oil pipelines in Colombia is booming as criminal gangs look to substitute dwindling supplies of smuggled Venezuelan gasoline for use within the drug commerce, as shown by data seen by Reuters from oil-pipeline operator flavone extract Cenit and tax authorities.

Gasoline is a key component in making cocaine however there have been shortages of the gasoline https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/diesel-shortages-paralyze-venezuelan-farms-prompting-sanctions-debate-2021-05-19 in Venezuela throughout that nation’s social and financial crisis. So criminal groups in Colombia are tapping pipelines for ever more crude, which they must later refine. Colombian crime gangs https://www.reuters.com/world/colombias-clan-del-golfo-gang-community-extends-28-countries-police-2021-11-03 also ship some of that artisanal gas to Venezuela, a reversal of historic smuggling patterns.

“Now it’s switched,” Yessica Prieto, venture and investigations director of Colombian vitality advocacy group Crudo Transparente, told Reuters. “It’s … Colombian mafias, or criminal groups, who are stealing Colombian crude, refining it illegally – obviously artisanally – and which crosses the border to Venezuela.”

Theft of crude in Colombia – mainly from the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline near the Venezuelan border – hit at least a six-yr excessive in the primary half of 2021, in response to knowledge from pipeline operator Cenit, a subsidiary of Colombia’s majority state-owned oil firm, Ecopetrol.

Stolen oil is processed in clandestine refineries and turned into a rudimentary gasoline generally known as “pategrillo” or “cricket’s foot” – so-known as for its inexperienced shade – that’s utilized in cocaine production, police and analysts mentioned.

A mean of 3,299 barrels of oil had been being stolen per day in Colombia via June 30, up from 1,796 barrels per day in 2016, in accordance with Cenit.

In comparison with 2020, when an average of 2,744 barrels of crude had been stolen every day, oil theft in Colombia rose by a fifth during the primary half of this 12 months.

While oil theft has surged, fruit extract supply the amount of gasoline apprehended underneath suspicion of being smuggled has fallen sharply over the same interval, based on information from Colombia’s DIAN tax authority seen by Reuters.

A peak of 694,894 gallons of fuel have been apprehended by authorities in five provinces along the border with Venezuela during 2017.

That determine fell to 107,616 gallons by 2020, in response to the DIAN. In the primary half of 2021, just 18,484 gallons of gas were apprehended.

The DIAN attributed the fall in contraband gas to turmoil in Venezuela, the place oil production and refining has fallen sharply, and the success of anti-smuggling legislation.

Venezuela’s financial crisis “has pushed the move of hydrocarbons from Colombia to Venezuela,” the DIAN said in an e mail.

The overwhelming majority of oil theft happens alongside the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline, with 2,430 barrels of crude stolen per day throughout the first half of 2021.

In 2020, 2,008 barrels of oil had been stolen each day from the pipeline, Cenit said.

Once refined, the stolen crude is used to make coca paste, a precursor to cocaine. If you adored this article along with you desire to acquire details about fruit extract supply i implore you to pay a visit to our web site. Leaves of coca are mixed with gasoline to vegetable extract sure plant compounds, with gallons of gasoline required to make only one kilo.

Fuel might also be sent to Venezuela or used for machines at illegal mining websites, Colombia’s police mentioned.

“The main use is to course of plant compounds during cocaine manufacturing,” Brigadier General Jesus Alejandro Barrera, director of Colombia’s rural police, informed Reuters.

“Once (criminal teams) saw they couldn’t carry gasoline directly from Venezuela, they said ‘let’s use this pategrillo as an ingredient to make these compounds.'”

Repairing harm to Cano Limon-Covenas attributable to illicit valves – used to steal oil – and bombings by the left-wing ELN guerrillas value forty two billion pesos, practically $eleven million, in 2020, stated Cenit’s vice-president of pipelines, Sandra Milena Orozco.

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